Don't Forget These 6 Marketing Fundamentals
If you’re a business owner or manager without years of marketing experience, any marketing related decision can be difficult. Many times, it seems like a no-win situation where you don’t want to waste money on useless campaigns and at the same time don’t want to miss an opportunity to grow business…. It’s the proverbial Catch-22. Thankfully, when marketing campaigns are thought-out and targeted, the effort often delivers the desired outcomes. Many of our current clients came to us with this exact dilemma. So, you’re not alone.
A great marketing campaign must provide the right message, in the right way, to the right person, at the right time. Okay…well there you go. Easy right? Yea…if only it was that simple.
While there’s no secret formula that guarantee’s 100% success, there are a couple of fundamental imperatives that can help you better the odds.
#1 Create GREAT Content
Content is still king!
Today’s consumers are busy people with diminishing attention spans. In many cases, you’ll get 5-6 seconds to make your case with compelling content and a failed effort will result in the consumer moving on to something else. Most people are very protective of their time, so you need to provide a GREAT reason for them to give some up. Content must speak directly to the target market and specifically to the needs of that targeted audience. Good, compelling content takes time to create and refine. Don’t skimp on this step.
Most importantly, make certain you provide content that a customer wants to hear rather than stuff you want to say! Many campaign authors miss this crucial point.
#2 Target Your Audience
Your carefully curated content must now be refined for the targeted audience or ‘personas’ because everyone doesn’t care about the same things. For example, a business owner and the facility manager may value different aspects of a landscaping services proposal. The product is the same, but the value placed on each part of the service is different for the stakeholders in the purchasing process. Gone are the days where the ‘shotgun-effect’ can be used to spread one message across a large group and see great results.
#3 Focus on the ‘Why’ more than the ‘What’
Buyers want to know precisely how a business’s products or services will help them and what benefits they will receive. It’s more important for a costumer to understand ‘why’ they should purchase the product (value) than to understand ‘what’ the product does (functionality.) Without the former, the latter is irrelevant. See the last sentence of #1 above.
Stories or case studies are often an effective way to communicate this value. When buyers hear stories that are related to their condition, they immediately see themselves in the same situation. Sales barriers are lessened and the purchase of the product or service becomes more compelling to the customer.
#4 Proactively Drive Action in the Sales Pipeline
Getting customers to act and eventually make a purchase is the goal of any marketing effort. Often this is a process rather than an instantaneous event. The “one-and-done” strategy of sending just one email or mailer won’t work for most markets. Customers in many markets will require multiple touch points before they decide to purchase. Follow-up emails, phone calls, and messaging are often required to secure the customer’s business.
Also, we’ve found that customers are often 55-75% along in the purchasing process before they reach out to a company. This means you’ll need to proactively insert yourself in the game if you want to increase the chances of making the final cut.
There’s secondary value to high-quality content and targeted value messaging…using it again and again. Great content can be used across various campaigns, different medias and even within multi-part campaigns. When content is refined to what works best, it can (and should) be duplicated and used with multiple marketing campaigns.
#6 Track, Measure, Refine.
Maximizing your return on marketing investment requires some oversight and maintenance work. Many of today’s marketing platforms, tools, and services offer performance reports on your campaigns. With this information you can begin to see how well content and campaigns are working. Continuous improvement is the key here. Refine the content, methods, and outreach until you get the desired results.
Like most things in business, you get out of marketing…what you put in. Marketing tools, platforms, and channels continue to change, but many of the fundamentals stay the stay year after year. Good luck out there!
OnTarget Strategy is a Boulder, Colorado based business and marketing consultancy focusing on business growth and operational improvement for their clients. You can continue discussing marketing strategies with them at firstname.lastname@example.org